‘As we all know’: Examining Chinese EFL learners’ use of interpersonal grammatical metaphor in academic writing

Cassi L. Liardét*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    This article investigates Chinese EFL learners’ use of evaluation and stance in academic texts by exploring their deployment of interpersonal grammatical metaphors (IGM), a construct mapped within Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL; Halliday, 1985; e.g., I BELIEVE, IT IS EVIDENT, etc.). The data is drawn from the Chinese Longitudinal Learner Corpus (CLLC), a two-year diachronic study into university learners’ development of academic literacy (Liardet, 2014a). When examining IGM, it is important to distinguish which metaphors of modality achieve the registers valued in academic discourse, namely, epistemic metaphors construed objectively (Hyland, 1998a; Schleppegrell, 2002). In the analysis of the CLLC, a widely used construction emerged, that of AS WE ALL KNOW (e.g., IT IS KNOWN TO ALL, AS WE KNOW, etc.). To account for this construct, an additional axis has been mapped across Halliday's (1985) model of IGM. Building on SFL's framework of Appraisal and specifically, the system of ‘engagement’ the axis of expansion is used here to distinguish expressions that expand the ‘dialogic space’ (e.g., IT IS SUGGESTED; Martin & White, 2005; see also, Hyland, 2000, 2002) from those that contract this space (e.g., IT IS CERTAIN). In addition to the Chinese EFL learners’ reliance on such deontic, contracting metaphors, this paper explores their preference for subjective realizations and identifies key areas for pedagogical intervention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)64-80
    Number of pages17
    JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


    • Academic discourse
    • Corpus analysis
    • Grammatical metaphor
    • Stance
    • Systemic functional linguistics (SFL)


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